Monday, October 15, 2012

This Is Halloween: SEQUEL by Mark Allan Gunnells

Marl Allan Gunnells first came to my attention when I heard about Asylum, his zombie apocalypse novella that placed the action in the middle of a gay bar.  This idea sounded too good to be true to me; I mean, could the author pull off such an original approach without the story coming across as mere drivel?

So I read Asylum.

And it was great!  Not only had Mark created a terrifying, action packed zombie tale but he had also written an original, fresh piece of queer horror that proved to me that this was a writer to watch.

Then I read Tales From the Midnight Shift, Volume 1.

An awesome collection that shows off Mark's originality and range as a writer, Tales confirmed for me that Mark has talent to spare and that he was going to be one of my "go-to" authors when I wanted fresh, new horror.

And now Mark Allan Gunnells brings us Sequel...

Sequel is an homage to all those creepy 80s slasher films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc.  And it is a pitch perfect one.  Clearly, Mark is a big fan of the genre and his reverence shows through with every word. All the tropes are here: psycho killer, small town, helpless victims...and Mark has centered the plot around the 10th anniversary of a cult horror film.  A major studio has green lit a sequel, reuniting the cast from the original.  But even before the new film goes into production, the killings start happening.  The studio scrambles to save its film and the remaining cast lives in fear as the body count continues to rise...

Mark writes the kind of horror I like; it's thoughtful, fast paced, more "chills and thrills" than "blood and guts" and always rises above the fray.  He creates characters that you become invested in, and keeps the tension ratcheted up, so you wind up reading the entire novel in one sitting, on the edge of your seat the whole time.

I enjoyed Sequel very much and it is a great tribute to the masked killer genre.  Because the story stays true to the classics, there were points in the story that I was able to predict.  But Mark is able to throw in some original twists that I enjoyed and the ending had me rooting for (what else?) a sequel!!  What better time of year to pick up a creepy, scary read like Sequel than right now?!  Or any of Mark's books, for that matter; you can see my thoughts on Asylum here and Tales here.  It would be scary NOT to!

Happy reading...and unpleasant dreams!

(This book counts as 3/10 in the 2012 Horror/Thriller Reading Challenge hosted by Sweeping Me.)

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